By: Thaer Abdelrasoul
The Metropolitan Transit Authority, by virtue of being in the mass transit business, has always been fairly environmentally sustainable. As the world’s largest rapid transportation system, with over seven million riders a day, the MTA is able to make a substantial impact. By enabling the general public to use mass transit instead of their personal vehicles, the MTA reduces traffic and congestion throughout the city. If the MTA ceased to exist, there would be an additional 700,000 vehicles in New York City’s central business districts every day.
The MTA is getting even greener. The MTA has been gradually improving its environmental policy for years, starting with the Clean Fuel Bus System. Beginning in 2000, the MTA became the first public agency in the nation to switch to buses that use ultra-low sulfur fuel. More recently, escalators that have a sleep mode feature have been installed to conserve electricity. Other initiatives in-progress include providing natural ventilation in subway cars, installing heat recovery units for building heat, collecting rainwater to wash vehicles, and installing solar power units for lighting.
How does the MTA becoming more green benefit the riders? The MTA’s green initiatives are also helping to save money. This revenue is reinvested back into the system to improve service and update equipment.
The benefits of using mass transit in New York are financial, environmental, and cultural. The MTA has always been the most cost effective way to travel in New York. Trading a car for public transit reduces carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions. Lastly, being a true New Yorker includes walking fast and bumping shoulders on the subway during the daily rush; using mass transit is an integral part of the experience of New York.